And Hot Pink All Over

“The screen embedded in the front of the box digitally flips through old issues of a publication you can’t hold in your hands anymore, its name emblazoned on the top with an exclamation mark: Xtra! The headlines slide by: ‘Pumped for Pride,’ ‘Dyke March Intervention!’ and ‘Hot Attack: Miss Conception Sets Pride Ablaze!’ The newsbox sits in the lobby of the Pink Triangle Press (PTP)—publisher of Xtra—offices at the corner of Carlton and Yonge Streets in Toronto. The tagline on top reads: Toronto’s Gay & Lesbian News. But changes in the industry, and the LGBTQ2IA+ community at large, have forced a reexamination of just who Xtra’s audience is now. In 2015, the print edition closed.”

Sean Young – Ryerson Review of Journalism – July 2020

He said, they said: inside the trial of Matthew McKnight

“By the morning of the third day, Juliette was starting to worry. It was the middle of January, 2020, a viciously cold week in Edmonton. She’d been so sure the jury believed her, believed them. But after 26 hours of deliberation, she wasn’t as certain as she had been, and now the question hung on her like a stone: What was taking so long? The others were waiting, too.”

Jana G. Pruden – The Globe and Mail – July 2020

Prison Unionism

“When the Conservative provincial government announced the closure of the Dauphin jail in early 2020, which employs about 80 people in the small city about three-and-a-half hours northwest of Winnipeg, the union doubled down on incarceration, mobilizing fears of job loss and rural divestment to gather thousands of petition signatures and stage rallies in both Winnipeg and Dauphin opposing the proposed closure.”

Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land, James Wilt – Briarpatch – July 2020

The Passport

“The document is elegant. No one can dispute that. The deep navy blue of its slightly pebbled cover, the understated gilt imprint of the royal arms of Canada, which somehow looks faded even when new — the passport is a classic. Its cover may be harder, more durable, the pages inside more decorated than when I was a boy, but, in the hand, its familiarity is heavy, anchoring. A passport is a little book printed for a single situation, the condition of being between countries. To hold it is to be going from home to elsewhere or from elsewhere to home. Over time, the booklet assumes the association of distance and belonging, of leaving and returning. This year that association, often subtle, like a half-remembered smell from childhood, clarified itself in the atmosphere of trauma that overtook the world. This was the year when we remembered what it means to hold a Canadian passport.”

Stephen Marche – Literary Review of Canada – July 2020

I donated my kidney to help a stranger. But what about the person I couldn’t help?

“Piecing together the reasons I chose to give someone I’ve never met a kidney has led me to examine my many privileges and failures – all the times I could have been generous, but wasn’t, all the times I gave, but could have given more. It has also forced me to reckon with a deep well of regret over the one life I wish I had saved but did not.”

Wency Leung – The Globe and Mail – June 2020

Roberts Bank Terminal 2 would make Fraser River estuary a ‘giant parking lot,’ observers warn

“The existing terminal at Roberts Bank, Deltaport, juts across an eelgrass bed that provides shelter for migrating juvenile salmon. The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project would double the size of Deltaport, creating an artificial island about the size of 150 football fields. The Fraser estuary has already lost 70 per cent of its salmon habitat, and the proposed project would deplete an additional 177 hectares.”

Stephanie Wood – The Narwhal – June 2020

Serenity: A life cut short

“While at the detachment, records say, the young mother, her left eye purple and swollen, told victims’ services staff she couldn’t afford diapers or formula for her seven-month-old daughter, and was afraid to go home. The report she filed triggered a chain reaction, and soon a social worker from Child and Family Services (CFS) set up a meeting to go see the Indigenous mother and baby. The notes from that meeting on Jan. 10, 2011, show that the conversation between social worker and mother was a negotiation.”

Paige Parsons – CBC Edmonton – June 2020

Hitchhiker, hero, celebrity, killer

“It was late in the morning on Feb. 1, 2013, when Caleb Lawrence McGillivary met Jesus Christ on a highway outside Bakersfield. McGillivary had been on the road a good while by then, having left his home in Alberta as a teenager to find his own way in the world. He’d gone back at times, back to his family, back to school or work, but that kind of routine never suited him for long, and by the early months of 2013, he was drifting once again. Not homeless, he would tell people. Home free.”

Jana G. Pruden – The Globe and Mail – June 2020

 

 

 

Perverts Like Us

“There was a time when I had orgasms that had nothing whatsoever to do with fantasies. I had them by accident. I remember having them in gym class all the time. We had to prepare for some Canadian Fitness Exam. We had to take it very seriously. As a child, you are supposed to accept what adults put in front of you and denote as important. There is an element of nonsense in the life of any child. That was why Nonsense Literature is so appealing to children.”

Heather O’Neill – Hazlitt – June 2020

Where the Pandemic Hit Hardest

“As the minutes tick by, a swell of people flows into the parking lot. Many of them are wearing masks, some have also donned clear or blue latex gloves, while others choose to remain uncovered. A physically distanced line-up builds outside the Tim Hortons, snatches of conversations in Tagalog, Spanish, and Caribbean Patois lingering in the air. While the 35 and 36 aren’t as packed as usual, from the growing line it’s clear the buses will hold far more than fifteen passengers per vehicle, the goal the TTC has set for itself. This working class neighbourhood made up of predominantly immigrants and racialized people cannot afford the luxury of staying at home—even as the Ontario government has extended all COVID-19 related emergency orders until the end of June.”

Aparita Bhandari – The Local – June 2020